Environmental Chemistry Environmental Chemistry Society
Environmental problems - Chemical approaches
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Occurrence of fluorotelomer alcohols at two Alpine summits: sources, transport and temporal trends

Zhenlan Xu A B C E , Lingxiangyu Li D , Bernhard Henkelmann B and Karl-Werner Schramm B C E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Institute of Quality and Standard of Agro-Products, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hangzhou 310021, China.

B Helmholtz Center Munich – National Research Center for Environmental Health (GmbH), Molecular EXposomics (MEX), Ingolstädter Landstr.1, Neuherberg D85764, Germany.

C Technische Universität München, Wissenschaftszentrum Weihenstephan für Ernährung und Landnutzung, Department für Biowissenschaften, Weihenstephaner Steig 23, Freising D85350, Germany.

D School of Sciences, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, Hangzhou 310018, China.

E Corresponding authors. Email: xuzhenlan330@163.com; schramm@helmholtz-muenchen.de

Environmental Chemistry 14(4) 215-223 https://doi.org/10.1071/EN16190
Submitted: 22 November 2016  Accepted: 14 April 2017   Published: 8 May 2017

Environmental context. The transport and fate of organic pollutants such as fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOHs) in the atmosphere affect their risks to the environment and human health. On the basis of hourly trajectory predictions, we found that, from 2007 to 2010, individual levels of 6:2, 8:2 and 10:2 FTOH were from non-detectable to 72.4 pg m–3 at two Alpine summits. Air mass origin was an important factor determining the Alpine atmospheric FTOH levels.

Abstract. The transport and fate of fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOHs) in the atmosphere affect their risks to the environment and human health. In this study, we aimed to investigate the sources, transport and temporal variations of FTOHs (6:2, 8:2 and 10:2 FTOH) at two Alpine summits (Sonnblick and Zugspitze). The active air sampler consisting of four XAD cartridges was applied to collect FTOHs from 2007 to 2010. Four separate cartridges were assigned for four air flow regimes (three European sectors and one mixed source origin), and switched and controlled on the basis of an hourly trajectory prediction. FTOH (6:2, 8:2 and 10:2) was measured with individual concentrations ranging from less than the limit of detection to 72.4 pg m–3. Also, 8:2 FTOH was the dominant compound, accounting for 41–72 % of the total FTOH (ΣFTOH) concentration. Significant differences were not observed in FTOH concentrations between Sonnblick and Zugspitze since the two sites are relatively close compared with the geographic extent of the area studied. Air-flow regime was an important factor determining the atmospheric FTOH levels. Particularly at Zugspitze, air mass from the NE (regions north-east of the Alps) showed the highest median ΣFTOH concentration (36.9 pg m–3), followed by S (the Po basin in Italy), NW (regions north-west of Alps) and M (mixed source origin, polar regions or high altitudes). Furthermore, the seasonal variation in FTOH concentrations was not correlated with the site temperatures, but was dependent on the wind speed. Overall, the results indicated low FTOH concentrations at these two Alpine summits compared with European populated cities and provided important information for understanding the fate of FTOHs in the Alpine atmosphere.


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